Staying ahead of your competitor’s SEO strategies is not easy. Whether you are trying to catch up, compete, or merely enter their radar, you can quickly find yourself unsure of which direction to proceed and which SEO strategy to implement. As you are developing strategies to leave your competitors in the dust, they are likely anticipating your next move and implementing strategies of their own to stay ahead of you. So how can you win this game of chess with your competitors? A good place to start is taking a look under you competitor’s hood. By understanding what your competitors are doing to better their search engine ranking placements, you can leverage their success with their SEO strategies and enhance areas they fall short in. So how can you find out what they are doing? The chance of them telling you is not likely, but there are a number of tools available to gain insight on your competitor’s SEO strategies. Here are 5 methods for staying ahead of your competitor’s that you should be using, with explanations on why you should have started using them yesterday.
The main area you want to focus on here is backlinks. By entering your competitors URL in tools like Moz’s OSE (Open Site Explorer), you can get a complete list of your competitor’s backlinks. Why is this useful? By gaining the same backlinks, you are leveling the playing field and providing yourself with an opportunity to one-up your competitors in an area that weighs heavily on Google’s search engine ranking placement. As an SEO best practice, make sure you’re keeping an eye on the PA (page authority) and DA (domain authority) of these links. This is something you need to be cognizant of. (A PA or DA of 40 or less is more harmful than helpful).
Social Media is another vital aspect in increasing search ranking. Google’s recent Pidgeon 4.0 update significantly rewarded sites with a rich social media presence. Although there are caveats of using Social Media. This posting highlights the pros and cons of implementing a social media strategy. With implementing a social media strategy, it is very important to monitor your engagement across all platforms. Increasing engagement is another key factor that comes into play in terms of Google search engine rankings. Engagement includes likes, shares, retweets etc. For Twitter the target engagement is 1% and for Facebook, LinkedIn and other social platforms engagement is .5%. Here is a great article that talks about the power of social media and and benefits of building online communities and increasing engagement.
Blogging is another key area you should be focusing your time and energy on. Monitor your competitors blogs for topics that may be trending or bringing high MSV (Monthly Search Volume). You will notice a majority of company blogs use Eblogger or WordPress. These are great platforms that will actually provide analytics on your blog. The next step is determining which platform you like the best. By creating blog posts, you are not only creating new pages that in turn increase your odds of exposure to potential business opportunities, but also establishing a voice and a brand that leads to followers. Followers that will potentially share your content amongst their communities and boost traffic to your site. Even more importantly, blogs allow for comments. Comments and interaction on pages creates fresh content. Fresh content and interaction on a page that has page relevancy is a surefire way to see improvements in ranking from Google’s fresh content algorithm.
In addition to backlinks and blogs, keywords are an important element as well as they are a major factor in leading visitors to your site. By getting an understanding of your competitor’s keywords you can develop a clear cut strategy of which words to optimize for. This will provide you with insight on which words you should focus on implementing in your content and which words you can leave out. You can have a very clever long tail phrase on your site, but if the phrase is never searched, you are more than likely wasting your time. A quick measurement tool for gaining an understanding of how your organic keywords overlap with your competitors, is SpyFu. By entering your competitor’s URL, you are given a venn diagram detailing shared and unshared keywords.
In conclusion, by putting these methods to use, you will ensure you have a competitive edge that will leave your site a force to be reckoned with. As you race your way to the top of search engine ranking pages, your competitors will scratch their heads to find new ways improve their search engine rankings.